George Sapkowski’s earliest memory of photography is the purchase of his first camera and being given one of Freeman Patterson’s early books on the medium. He then went on to pursue his education through the Applied Photography program at Sheridan College in Oakville. Graduating at the top of his class in 1984, Sapkowski has been creating photographs for 25 years.
Sapkowski considers himself a fine art photographer, a title that he explains “can cover a wide range of subject matter and technique.” In the five years following his graduation he worked commercially in Toronto and eventually relocated to London. He made the transition from film to digital photography five years ago and at the same time he joined the London Camera Club. He credits the switch to digital with helping him explore new challenges and directions within his work. Sapkowski also praises the London Camera Club’s collective atmosphere.
Acutely aware of the ingredients necessary in the creation of a successful image, Sapkowski approaches his photography with the utmost forethought. His interest is to meld all of the elements perfectly to create a “great image”. Though he acknowledges the added opportunities for manipulation of the image within digital technology he asserts that he still strives “to get the best possible image in camera, that is the way I learned photography, but it [still] amazes me that I can process and print at home.”
Sapkowski searches for the beauty in his environment, continuously scouting new locations with London and surrounding area. Whether man-made or naturally occurring he marvels at the presence of “great design” within our environment. Though most of his work is shot locally, his favourite project has been an ongoing survey of vintage beach chairs near his family’s cottage on Georgian Bay. He approaches the project with the highest consideration, “All the elements have to be perfect especially the weather, the more extreme the better,” says Sapkowski. He also makes great use of long exposures in order to get unique images.
Viewers enjoy Sapkowski’s images for their innate beauty and positive evocations, but also the embodiment of memories or coveted places. The connection felt by viewers is no doubt related to Sapkowski’s personal investment in the images he creates. Not surprisingly he draws much of his inspiration for his work from his family and friends.